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Snowballs dangerous, immature

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, November 23, 2008

I write this letter in the hope of it being published, for all those individuals who threw snowballs at Saturday’s Notre Dame-Syracuse game. This is an issue that needs to be addressed for the good of the school and its reputation.Dear Students and Fellow Domers,I’m a proud Notre Dame alumnus and former cheerleader who has the fortune to live near our beloved university and attend many games and functions. Like you, my experiences in the stands of Notre Dame Stadium have varied from heartbreak to jubilation, but in 20 years of being a fan, I have never witnessed the type of immaturity and irresponsibility that transpired this Saturday. As unhappy as I was with the game’s outcome, that feeling pales in comparison to the shame and disappointment I feel in some members of our student body. Snowballs hitting other students, many of whom obviously wanted nothing to do with these childish actions, snowballs aiming for visitors, state troopers, the Syracuse cheerleaders … our own players?!?I’d like to know what type of person finds it the least bit funny to strike one of his or her fellow students, who is down there playing for you – for his classmates and his school – with an object that is not nearly as innocuous as it looks. As a physician with specialty training in Sports Medicine – and I have seen my share of head and eye injuries – they’re not pretty, trust me. For the level of maturity and intelligence Notre Dame selects for young men and women to admit to its student body, however, it shouldn’t have to take a doctor (or our poor broadcast announcer pleading several times during the game) to remind you of this.Guys and gals, I’m not some cranky old fuddy-duddy who bristles with indignation when students yell a little too loudly or drink a bit more than usual on a weekend when you’ve earned a well-deserved break from studies and need to cut loose. Trust me – I was where you are right now and I still enjoy having my fun come Saturday. We did dumb things too when I sat (or stood, as the case may be) where you do in the stands right now. What happened on Saturday, however, really crossed the line from silly college antics to something dangerous, immature and embarrassing. I have heard many fans of visiting teams over the years comment in admiration on how well they were treated at Notre Dame and how impressed they were with the student body. Now imagine, if you will, what the Orangemen fans and players are saying to their friends and family about us right now as they head back home.For those who threw and continued to throw snowballs during the game, please take a moment to think of the damage you may have done to this school’s reputation. If you think I’m exaggerating, take a look at the online sports Web sites, blogs and local newspapers – congratulations, your actions have made you (in)famous. You are Notre Dame, and you’re better than that. Please remember that, so that come next November, the headlines don’t read “Notre Dame Player and Student Trainer Carted Off Field By Paramedics From Student-Thrown Snowballs – Doctors Say Linebacker May Lose His Right Eye.” Thank you for your attention.

John Stavrakosalumclass of 1992Nov. 23